Although an industry consensus identifies that a 5G standard and accompanying technology won’t become publicly available until 2020 or beyond, Verizon Wireless said today that it has partnered with Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm and Samsung in a 5G Technology Forum to promote faster innovation and bring the technology to trials next year. It has also been reported that the carrier will have some level of commercial deployment by 2017.
5G network environments, or “sandboxes,” are being created in Verizon’s Waltham, Mass., and San Francisco Innovation Centers. Just like in the early days of the development of 4G LTE technology, collaborating in a shared environment will foster compelling applications faster, Verizon said in a statement.
“5G is no longer a dream of the distant future,” said Roger Gurnani, executive vice president and chief information and technology architect for Verizon. “We feel a tremendous sense of urgency to push forward on 5G and mobilize the ecosystem by collaborating with industry leaders and developers to usher in a new generation of innovation.”
The expected benefits of 5G, as described during Verizon’s inaugural forum, include about 50 times the throughput of current 4G LTE, latency in the single milliseconds, and the ability to handle exponentially more Internet-connected devices to accommodate the expected explosion of the Internet of Everything.
That unprecedented speed is even higher than what Google Fiber offers its customers.
“When you’re planning a technological evolution at this scale it must be a collaboration of players in the ecosystem,” said Marcus Weldon, chief technology officer of Alcatel-Lucent and president of Bell Labs. “Having Verizon initiate this effort now, even as 4G LTE technology has so much headroom left, will no doubt add to the rich fabric of our digital lives for many years to come.”
The Verizon-led effort keeps the communications industry in the U.S. vibrant and globally competitive, explained Rima Qureshi, chief strategy officer for Ericsson. “A lot of development and requirements for 5G networks have so far come from Asian operators,” she said. “It’s exciting to see a U.S. company accelerate the rate of innovation and introduce new partners.”
In addition to working with communications and technology leaders, Verizon’s 5G Technology Forum also includes a group of leading east- and west-coast venture capital groups focused on a variety of emerging technologies.
“Each partner is a leader, but together we represent more than $50 billion in annual research, development and technology investments and thousands of patents,” Gurnani said. “Collectively we are bringing to bear an incredible amount of resources and intellectual capital to introduce the next generation of wireless technology.”
Building networks for the future unleashes innovation
From the beginning, the possibilities of 4G LTE were as great as the imaginations of the developers, engineers and entrepreneurs who began immediately putting their ideas into action. The Verizon Innovation program was created, and Innovations Centers were opened in Waltham and San Francisco, with the mission of encouraging the growth and development of the 4G LTE ecosystem. Innovators from around the world worked with Verizon wireless experts to test their ideas and quickly get them to market.
And the market grew quickly. Verizon began building and testing 4G LTE as early as 2008 with the creation of a 10-cell network sandbox around Boston. The first LTE data call was made in August 2009, and Verizon commercially launched the nation’s first, and the world’s largest, 4G LTE network in December 2010 with 39 major metropolitan areas and more than 60 major airports covered.
Today, more than 98 percent of the U.S. population has access to 4G LTE and 87 percent of Verizon Wireless data traffic is carried over the network.
Verizon has long been committed to leading the way in network innovation and reliability. Earlier this summer, the National RootScore® Report, conducted by RootMetrics, found that Verizon customers enjoy the most reliable and strongest network performance overall, from Maine to California and in between the Canadian and Mexican borders. This marked the fourth consecutive time Verizon’s wireless network has been acknowledged as the leader in overall performance among national wireless service providers in the U.S. by RootMetrics, an independent third party.
“Even as Verizon begins the work to make 5G a reality, we continue to grow 4G LTE,” Gurnani added. “In addition to significant multi-billion-dollar investments in the network, we continue to work with a growing list of partners to launch new products and services on the nation’s largest and most reliable 4G LTE network.”